Retailing the Branded Watch
By : | May 13, 2016

From multi-brand retail stores to luxurious boutiques on the best shopping streets in the world, watch brands are looking at innovative ways in which they can woo the millennials.

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Chopard store front in Vienna

Across the world specialty watch boutiques are being set up sell the best of luxury watches. The concept of selling different brands of luxury watches in beautifully designed stores, all under one roof, has caught on to an extent that ‘watch bars’ or ‘watch markets’, as they are popularly known, have become one-stop shop from where you can buy your favourite luxury watches. They allow you to browse through an entire collection, match prices and make the right purchase.

Toronto, for instance, has La Swiss located in the neighbourhood of Bloor. The boutique offers quite a mixed bag – TW Steel, ESQ Movado and Victorinox, alongside a number of high-end Swiss watches like Chopard. The real treasures are to be found in their vintage case, which features pieces from stratospherically expensive brands like Piaget and Blancpain.

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Material Good, SoHo, NY

SoHo has Material Good, a magnificent concept store that sells several watch and jewellery brands under one roof. It stocks Audemars Piguet, Richard Mille, Cool Hunting favorite Bamford Watch Department, and an array of vintage watches as well as fine jewellery, diamonds and more. Co-founder Rob Ronen says, “The initial drive to create this space came from the fact that I worked with Audemars Piguet and oversaw their sales for North America. I got a chance to see what our existing network of retailers was doing and I noticed that the shopping experience wasn’t very elegant or luxurious. With this store, we wanted to make luxury unforced and bring the experience back to the clients.”

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Rose: The Watch Bar, Mumbai

Mumbai, too, has The Watch Bar with its repertoire of high-end luxury watches, personally overseen by Biren Vaidya, Managing Director, The Rose Group. The Rose: The Watch Bar houses haute horlogerie brands such as Jaeger-LeCoultre, Hublot, Ulysse Nardin, Bulgari and Chopard. “The exclusive haute horlogerie timepieces which are on preview at Rose: The Watch Bar, showcase the level of craftsmanship involved in such high complication watches. From the Georges Favre-Jacot and Christophe Colomb Equation Du Temps to the Academy Collection to the Ultra Thin Lady Moonphase from the Elite Collection, each is akin to a piece of art, rather than merely an engineering marvel. These watches are rare and are only produced on demand in very limited quantities,” says Vaidya.

He plans to take the unique concept of Rose: The Watch Bar across India.

The other noticeable trend in watch retail is the emergence of flagship stores across the world’s best High Streets. Almost every major watch brand – from Omega to Chopard and Cartier have street-front stores in Vienna’s Westbahnhof, or “Mahü”, as this street is lovingly dubbed by locals. Most global and luxury and high-street brands, besides a lot of Austrian brands have stores across this beautiful street, which is also home to several cafes. Omega, Cartier, Tag Hueur, Piaget, and several other watch brands stand neck-to-jowl across this beautiful street.

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Jaeger-LeCoultre, Miami Design District

In Miami, the Design District is becoming a destination for high-end watch connoisseurs. More than a dozen watch brands have unveiled lavish boutiques here, from Tag Heuer to Rolex, Bulgari, Jason of Beverly Hills and A. Lange & Sohne,  which recently unveiled a new 1,000-square-foot boutique—the brand’s 14th store worldwide. Right next door, Jaeger-LeCoultre also opened an exceptional 1,000-square-foot boutique. Designed in light brown wood, the space features a front rotunda area for presenting the latest collections—currently including the Duomètre and Geophysic lines—and a library setting in the back.

As luxury brands try and woo the millennials, luxurious retail experience will become paramount.